Author Topic: iPhone/Android App Development?  (Read 3849 times)

ceh

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iPhone/Android App Development?
« on: January 23, 2013, 11:01:52 AM »
Has anyone here tried their hand at app development to produce passive income?  I did a quick search, but I didn't see any posts about this particular subject.  I have some programming experience, and I've thought off and on about how cool it would be to make an app, and possibly profit off of it.  Depending on the complexity of programming required, it might be a decent payoff.  On Android, you can make a free version that shows ads, so you can get paid that way(similar to google adsense for blogs).  On iPhone, I don't know if an ad system works, but you could always just price it at $0.99-$1.99 and hope people find it useful enough.  I was just wondering if anyone else had tried it out.  I have an idea that I'm thinking about, so if anyone is interested in the process, I can document it in the journal section of the forums.  At least then I will publicly put myself out there and have people holding me accountable.

jdoolin

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Re: iPhone/Android App Development?
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2013, 11:16:25 AM »
I'm doing a bit of that now myself, however I've got it a bit easier.  Most of last year my primary income was as a contractor for a small company that developed mobile apps.  I was on their payroll for a couple months before I got my current job as a community college instructor.  Anyway, I still do work for them on a contract basis, and will probably really ramp it up in the summer when I'll have oodles of free time.

Best thing to do is reinvent some simple game that people stopped playing decades ago (like scrabble) and let people play it over the network. :-P

Unfortunately I can't relate any experience of personally developing and deploying mobile apps, nor even using ads.  None of the apps I've worked on used ads.

iamlindoro

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Re: iPhone/Android App Development?
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2013, 12:28:25 PM »
I am an app developer, and make a reasonable amount of passive income off of a couple of my apps every month.  One is an app for a very small subset of the population (you must have a certain piece of home theatre software installed, and can control it, stream media, etc. from the app) that I have priced at $3.99.  I make between 200-300 per month on this app usually, but sometimes as low as $175.  I have another application that is free but uses iAd.  It plays to a wider audience (athletic app) but seldom yields me much (30-40 a month usually).

I make much, much more by having those development skills and getting consulting work to work on the apps of others, averaging $1000 a week on top of my normal job income.

NumberCruncher

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Re: iPhone/Android App Development?
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2013, 12:36:42 PM »
iamlindoro - Did you do much advertising for either of your apps, or did you just put them out there?

iamlindoro

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Re: iPhone/Android App Development?
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2013, 12:42:48 PM »
I haven't done any paid promotional campaigns, and it's one area where I could probably do a bit with the app with the widest audience.  The app with the smallest audience I advertised as effectively as I could, and am also careful to provide excellent customer service as my new customers are mostly through word of mouth and internet posts/conversations.  My media app probably has a worldwide potential audience of under 10,000 (and that assumes that every person who uses the software it interfaces with it owned an iOS device), but it still makes enough to cover my groceries monthly.

Right now the consulting work keeps me plenty busy so I mostly just enjoy the passive income in spite of it being a relatively small amount.  If and when the consulting work lightens up I have some ideas about apps with a wide potential audience that I'd probably devote my full marketing attention to.  There's definitely good passive earning potential in apps, especially if you are an individual developer and can get even a moderate niche success.  Everyone thinks of Angry Birds and Words with Friends as examples of mass appeal, but even modest success can clearly yield nice returns.

ceh

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Re: iPhone/Android App Development?
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2013, 02:06:26 PM »
iamlindoro, that's really interesting. Good to hear that some other people have experience and that it's turned into something profitable.  It's something I've thought about because even a simple idea can turn into something that nets you a little bit of money over time.  I think what's stopped me before is that I dismiss an idea before I even try to work on it, or I feel pressured to think of a "big" idea.  What I really need to do is take a small idea and run with it and see where it goes from there. 

iamlindoro

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Re: iPhone/Android App Development?
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2013, 02:54:21 PM »
Definitely.  Even small ideas with small audiences can make "real" money-- I don't contend that a few hundred bucks is big money, but for what amounts to an hour of troubleshooting a month max (and usually far less), it's well worth it.

I found that what has made this small enterprise successful are three things:  1) Doing something nobody else has done, 2) Providing prompt and over-the-top good customer service, and 3) Holding the app until it was really polished/iterating slowly but surely it with customer feedback once it was.  It also helped establish me as an app developer with a portfolio of work I could point to in order to get the consulting gigs that really supercharge my savings/investments.

You'd be surprised how neat an app you can come up with with relatively basic skills, too-- if you have a talent for clean and polished UI, and you can master some basic network communication stuff (in order to consume the various web APIs out there) you can mash up some really neat stuff using someone else's information.  I have thus far really only worked on apps pertaining to stuff I know well (HTPC and endurance sports) but the many ideas I have in the wings relate to the above.

fuzzed

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Re: iPhone/Android App Development?
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2013, 06:53:31 PM »
I think what's stopped me before is that I dismiss an idea before I even try to work on it, or I feel pressured to think of a "big" idea.  What I really need to do is take a small idea and run with it and see where it goes from there.
If I had a dollar for every time I have had that identical thought...:)
 I have a notebook full of those ideas, and then i watch a movie like the Social Network and wonder if i don't think big enough, try to come up with a really big great idea, and of course do nothing. 

This is a very timely thread, downloading eclipse as I type.

Jack

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Re: iPhone/Android App Development?
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2013, 11:38:04 AM »
I'd like to make a mobile app, but I don't have a notebook full of ideas...

fuzzed

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Re: iPhone/Android App Development?
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2013, 05:04:15 PM »
It is a small notebook (3x4") , and maybe 15 different ideas, each one has a page or two of notes and key points, so it feels like a notebook full... 

Apologies for stretching the truth on my first post on a forum. :)

I was more commenting on the comment by ceh, i have the exact same thought.

Jack

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Re: iPhone/Android App Development?
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2013, 06:47:04 PM »
Don't worry, I wasn't trying to accuse you of anything; I was fishing for inspiration or advice.